July 2017: How Yoga-nomics magic influencing Latin America?

For centuries Yoga is known to awaken in one, the inner peace and tranquility we often go looking for in material things. Little surprise Latin Americans are glued in to this brilliant science. In fact, they rightly consider India a land of yoga, meditation, philosophy, wisdom, culture and spiritualism.

Yoga schools can be found all over the region. Yoga and meditation are taught in some Latin American jails to calm down the convicts. With miles of untouched natural habitat and the deeply held spiritual traditions of the Maya and Incan civilizations, Central and South America is the perfect place to embark on a spiritual journey.

On the economic diplomacy, India has good but under explored trade relations with Mexico, Argentina, and Chile, apart from its alignment with Brazil. With the India-Peru free trade discussions, India would be able to move ahead of the stereotype of seeing Latin America through the Brazilian lens.

One of the most hyped events scheduled is the free trade talks between India and Peru, which have been confirmed to take place in July this year. A Joint Study Group (JSG) was set up by the two countries in January 2015 to create a feasibility study, which in October 2016 gave a nod to the desirability of a free trade agreement (FTA). The proposed FTA is the first of its kind India would have with any Latin American country. In some quarters, an eventual India-Peru FTA is expected to include the neighboring countries of Peru in the near future. India-Peru trade is already in the billion-dollar club, and has been since 2012. With the finalization of a free trade deal, Peruvian exports to India are expected to increase by 12 percent.

Furthermore, Investments from India in Mexico have run into several hundred million US dollars. Most of the leading Indian companies in IT/software, pharmaceutical and automotive companies have invested in facilities and plants in Mexico taking advantage of its strategic location, large market and investment friendly policies.

Grupo Bimbo, the Mexico-based business that is the world’s largest bakery products group, has entered India with the acquisition of a majority stake in local packaged bread group Ready Roti India. Mexico-based Bimbo’s domestic business is in growth but its US operations – a significant market for the company, with it being the largest bakery group in the States – has been in the doldrums for a while.

In addition, in Brazil, while there are plenty of high-end steak houses and even Italian and French-inspired eateries in Rio de Janeiro, the city has been lacking an authentic Indian restaurant, until the Taj Mahal opened in Lagoa last January. Many are very happy for the addition to Rio’s culinary scene, “been crying out for an Indian restaurant in Rio and it’s finally here. Lovely place, lovely food and great service!”

India’s strongest weapon of global influence isn’t a nuclear arsenal but the power of Yoga, Food, and culture. The musical instruments at restaurants, Yoga classes, Indian classical dance classes, Hindi language classes, Indian cuisine cooking classes, Indian festival celebrations, Bollywood themed movies.